The Oceanic Pro League is back for 2020 Split 2! There were minimal roster changes in the offseason, meaning teams are looking to continue polishing their game, and make a run for the top spot in Split 2.
Legacy Esports shape as the team to beat coming off the back of their inaugural OPL title, claiming the Split 1 championship. James “Tally” Shute again became a permanent part of the roster in the mid lane, and they’ll be looking to clinch their title defence in Split 2.
Without further ado, Snowball’s experienced analysts Emma van der Brug, Harry Taylor, and Andrew Wray break down their chosen featured matches for the opening week. Round 1 will begin with title hopefuls the Chiefs taking on Pentanet.GG at 4pm AEST.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Order (0–0) vs Gravitas (0–0)
Prediction: Order defeat Gravitas
We’re back in Week 1 of the OPL after a relatively uneventful offseason in the roster shuffle department. Order’s lineup remains the same from the first campaign of the year, while Gravitas farewelled Jackson “Pabu” Pavone in favour of Sam “Kweku” Eeyson-Annan as their new starting top laner.
Order should be able to claim victory in their season opener. With time over the offseason to analyse and acknowledge their Split 1 issues, they should be a force to be reckoned with. It won’t be easy, of course, as many other teams will have followed suit too.
Gravitas are one of those teams in a similar boat, especially because bringing Kweku in is a splash in the pan for their extended roster. The team will look to take advantage of the full house they boast again, making it hard to predict just who will be lining up game to game, and week to week. Kweku also made great strides with Mammoth last split, and with further support should continue to grow as a player for the rest of 2020.
If Order want to make a bid for playoffs and the title again, they’ll have to come out of the gates swinging — with the offseason to polish any concerns the slightly-new 2020 roster may have had, they should knock Gravitas over in the first week.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Avant Gaming (0–0) vs Mammoth (0–0)
Prediction: Avant defeat Mammoth
After finding themselves at the bottom half of the ladder last split, Mammoth and Avant will both join the server on Friday evening with hopes to tip results on their heads after a pause courtesy of the OPL season break.
Avant clinched a playoff spot last season, but choppy waters with the internal affairs relating to Dragon “Dragku” Duo, as well as a 3–1 loss to Order meant the veteran OPL org ended a mixed Split 1 one on a low note. They moved to change things behind the scenes in the 2020 offseason, bringing in Pro League journeyman Daniel “Papryze” Francis.
Mammoth have also had a switch up in the top lane. Sam “Kweku” Eyeson-Annan made the jump to Gravitas, and new mid laner Wang “GDX” Xiaogang joined the team. Tristan “Lived” Flucher made way for the mysterious pickup, moving to the top lane.
Both teams will be coming into Friday evening with nothing but a solid win in their targets: if they want to go further than they did in Split 1 — not particularly hard for wooden-spooners Mammoth, unfortunately — they will need to be thinking of the postseason right from the word go this time around. At least eight or nine wins will clinch finals.
Avant come into the contest as favourites. The team’s core has gelled together well, and the only change has been the addition of a top laner that has proven he has the chops already. On the other side of the Rift, Mammoth come into question marks about Lived’s swap to the top, and their completely unknown mid laner.
Mammoth could shock, of course, especially considering they have a big bundle of unknown quantities that could turn out for the best. On paper, however, Avant Gaming should be able to get off to a flying start in their Split 2 campaign.
Andrew’s Feature Match of the Week: Legacy Esports (0–0) vs Dire Wolves (0–0)
Prediction: Legacy defeat Dire Wolves
How spoiled are we to be getting an Oceanic Pro League grand final rematch on the opening night of broadcast in the main event slot? Thanks to the season schedule shakeup, we have had just six weeks off since these last two teams played too.
Dire Wolves will be incredibly hungry for revenge, and the chance to set the record straight with a clean slate. Legacy, on the other hand, will want to get their potential bid for their first World Championship appearance off to the best start possible.
Trying to pull out a key matchup in a game with two of the league’s most stacked rosters is always a difficult task, but I think where most people will have their eyes is mid lane. Legacy are still running with their second-option mid laner, after a six week break to review the call to keep Tally or look for a replacement signing.
James “Tally” Shute looked comfortable in his role on-stage, but now he needs to back it up for another 10 weeks, and another push for playoffs. Tally has always been a consistent star, and if he can do that again, he’ll remove a lot of the doubt — not that much remains at this point, of course — surrounding Legacy.
His opponent, Ari “Shok” Greene-Young, on the other hand has been a mid mainstay over the past few seasons. He will be relishing the opportunity to create a ‘mid gap’ and take Legacy down from the mid of the map out.
The Wolfpack seemed to be improving at a rapid rate toward the back end of last split, as evidenced by their run to the final, and will be even hungrier than ever after their eventual defeat on April 24. The magic of the best-of-one also means the Dire Wolves could catch Legacy off-guard, and take home the victory.
With that said, Legacy is looking dominant this year. Without any changes, that’s not likely to change. That puts them, rightfully so, as favourites heading into the title fight rematch, and gives them every chance to start 2020 Split 2 with a big win.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.